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Presented by State Library Victoria

5 Books That Influenced Mini Me

As a child, I was an avid reader. Far more than now due to the lack of social media, other hobbies and homework. I was going through my borrowing history at the library, reminiscing on my favorites with some friends, and I was thinking about how these all the books made me the person I am today. I like that thought. That I am made up of all these characters and stories that only exist on paper and in our heads. That I share these parts of myself with people like you, who experience the same thing. Some people say this is like having your soul scattered throughout the pages, but to me I think it’s more like I’m stealing and hoarding things from the pages. Anyway, food for thought. Here are the 5 (well actually theres 6, I’m indecisive) books that influenced me most.

– Rainbow Magic
So I may not have been a stereotypical Disney-loving-princess-wannabe child, but I loved the series ‘Rainbow Magic’ by Daisy Meadows. These books follow two 10 year old girls as they help fairies with their errands, and occasionally to defeat the evil goblins from the ice kingdom. These stories get remarkably repetitive after the first 20, but that didn’t worry 6 year old me. These were the first books I really loved, and I would race through them before returning to the library for another stack. I think, being as young as I was, it was really important for my literacy skills to have this obsession. Without it, I don’t think I would have found it so easy, and furthermore enjoyable to read later on. This is what I would call the beginning of my journey as a reader

– Septimius Heap
The Septimius Heap series, by Annie Sage, was the first fantasy series I read, and sparked my love of the genre. I don’t remember the plot, it was just your average fantasy adventure novel, but the way it described magic and dragons and the like hooked my 8 year old imagination from the start. Looking back, it wasn’t particularly amazing, but I loved it.

Me embracing my love of fantasy

– Skulduggery Pleasant
It’s funny because something this series reminds me of is the stupid way books, especially children’s books, are gendered. I remember being shocked to find there were two separate recommendation lists for girls and for boys in the library. The boys list was far more interesting (it included Skulduggery Pleasant which I think is odd, it’s not gendered at all). I then found I had read far more of the ‘boys’ books, and proceeded to completely ignore gender based recommendations and turn lists from “great books for boys”, into “great books”

Most relatable character

Anyway back to the actual series I’m talking about here. Skulduggery Pleasant, by Derek Landy was another series I absorbed in a flash. The protagonists Valkyrie Cairn, and Skulduggery Pleasant (aliases obviously), were witty and sarcastic and recklessly daring and everything I wanted to be. I was about 10 when I read this and honestly I think everyone should read it at that age.

– Artemis Fowl and Ruby Redfort
I’m going to combine these because they influenced me in the same way, and I couldn’t choose between them. Artemis Fowl, by Eoin Colfer and Ruby Redfort, by Lauren Child, featured young protagonists, as they outsmarted adults and proved themselves to people who underestimated them. They differed slightly in that (I’ll refrain from ranting again), one’s aimed at boys and the other at girls. Ugh. Also Ruby is a cool spy/secret agent and Artemis is a criminal mastermind, the type Ruby would fight against, but they gave me the same message. Age does not always equal wisdom, and that sometimes the rules need to be broken. The independence the characters showed was inspiring to my developing brain, and gave me confidence in my own abilities. (Maybe a bit too much confidence. I was more of a know-it-all than Hermione)

– Percy Jackson
Okay here it is. You must have known it was coming. If you didn’t you don’t know me at all. Percy Jackson, by Rick Riordan, is my all time favorite series. I’m now completely obsessed with greek (and all) mythology, and own all of his books (I’m still buying and reading them now). He has had a huge influence on my writing style, and I’m pretty sure my personality is at least 40% Annabeth Chase (also my first fictional crush). This was also my first fandom and the topic of my now abandoned fan account, which I looked at recently btw; embarrassing, but cute. Without reading this, I think I’d be a completely different person. The diversity in his books was (disappointingly) the first I’d encountered, and with the positive way the characters reacted to LGBTQI characters coming out, and religious differences, made me think there was no other way to react (there shouldn’t be, but I now know that unfortunately the world is nowhere near as perfect as the Percy Jackson universe) I could list reasons why I love this series forever, but I’ll move on or I’ll never finish.

Me whenever percy jackson is mentioned

P.S. You may have noticed Harry Potter isn’t on this list. While I do love it, and it’s a favorite, I don’t feel that it influenced me as much as these books did.

18 comments

rhapsody

ARTEMIS FOWL ARTEMIS FOWL DID I HEAR ARTEMIS FOWL! Love this post!

9th Apr, 18
ladybird

Oh my gosh I just finished Thornhill. It was amazing I loved the illustrations and the writing was just as perfect as you said in your review! The plot was so simple and perfect and the ending gave me shivers. Thanks for the excellent recommendation I'll be passing it on to my friends!

11th Apr, 18
rhapsody

In reply to ladybird

AH YES THORNHILL IS SO GOOD!!! I'm so glad you read it!

12th Apr, 18
ladybird

Thanks! Artemis Fowl is amazing. Also you’ll be pleased to know I borrowed Thornhill after reading your review and plan to read it these holidays!

9th Apr, 18
bookwithbane

SEPTIMUS HEAP SEPTIMUS HEAP. ARTEMIS FOWL ARTEMIS FOWL. PERCY JACKSON PERCY JACKSON. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!
*brain explodes*

11th Apr, 18
ladybird

Wow I've never known anyone who knows what Septimus Heap is. AHHHH I LOVE THIS SITE

11th Apr, 18
bookwithbane

In reply to ladybird

Hahhahah. Same here. I just love talking to people about books. Most of my friends aren't book-worms and I'm a book dragon. I have (almost) the whole series. I got it for my birthday last year

11th Apr, 18
ladybird

In reply to bookwithbane

I tend to either become friends with already booky people or force them to read incredible books and convert them

11th Apr, 18
bookwithbane

In reply to ladybird

I wish I had that superpower. I have a few book-work friends, but they’re more graphic novels and comics(which I respect), but they barely read books with more than 40 words per page

11th Apr, 18
ladybird

In reply to bookwithbane

I don't think I could live without a friend to talk about books with. This site is great to find other book nerds though. You'll always find someone to talk to here

12th Apr, 18
bookwithbane

In reply to ladybird

The only people I could really talk to were the librarians

12th Apr, 18
otaku

YES! Loved Rainbow Magic, Skulduggery Pleasant and Percy Jackson!
I should probably check how many Rainbow Magic books are out now, there must be so many! I think I read about 70 of them myself - they were amazing! :') *stares wistfully off into the distance*

I only ever read the first Skulduggery Pleasant novel, but when I read it I was really passionate about it. *pumps fist*

I know you mentioned Harry Potter as not being on the list, and I have a similar opinion. For me, I do think that there's actually a divide of people who are more Percy Jackson and others more Harry Potter. While I obviously never minded Harry Potter, Percy Jackson was my baby (and still is) that I hold near and dear.

18th Apr, 18
ladybird

I kind of want to read a rainbow magic book now just to remember what I loved so much about it. And yeah I think there is a divide there. Percy Jackson just wins on the diversity and the mythology is just so cool I still love all that stuff now and so I owe a big thanks to Rick Riordan for that

20th Apr, 18
addie

OMG I had forgotten about rainbow magic. Love, love, love, LOVE. I had the whole series when I was seven.

5th May, 18
ladybird

Wow the whole series? That’s dedication.

5th May, 18
dolphinkick

PERCY JACKSON! YAS! NICO IS MY FAVOURITE CHARACTER! SPOILER COMING UP ABOUT THE BURNING MAZE/ TRIALS OF APOLLO I AM SO SAD ABOUT JASON AND EVEN WORSE ITS JASON AND PIPER BROKE UP! I KNOW I’M YELL TEXTING BUT PERCY JACKSON IS THE BESSSST! AND I JUST REALISED THIS WAS LAST YEAR BUT WHATEVER IT MENTIONS PERCY JACKSON!

27th Feb, 19
ladybird

AHHHHHH I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!!! I’m still more than a little obsessed with it :)

27th Feb, 19
charlie

ALL OF THOSE; YES

1st Mar, 19